On my daily walk I see signs of spring arriving. The magnolia tree is heavy with buds about to bloom. Other blossoms have started to show, are already parading their beauty. I think to myself, nature shows us that life goes on whatever the situation.
Life is a never-ending circle of restriction and growth, endings and beginnings. We are part of the universal flow of energy. Directed by the universe we, too, are restricted and then, the next moment, free to expand. Whatever the circumstances, we experience them in our own unique perception of what we call reality.
The situation today
The last twelve months have been intense for many. Emotions are running high. Vaccination, yes or no? The pandemic goes on and so do racism, gender inequality and much else. On the whole, we remain a divided society.
Is it possible, still, to awaken to each morning feeling joy?
I’d say yes.
A good starting point is becoming aware of how we let outside circumstances – media, people, situations – determine the levels of joy that we are feeling.
What is joy?
Joy is most commonly experienced by getting what we desire. This is the usual programming, but the truth is, joy is something that we have within us.
True joy is a state of being where one is connected to the positive and childlike energies that are always alive within, no matter what.
Joy and playfulness can help counterbalance the many restrictions and accompanying negative emotions that we experience.
How to bring more joy into your life?
There are many ways to bring more joy into one’s life.
One is to sit with yourself in the morning. Sitting is not limited to being still or in meditation. You can be one with yourself doing yoga stretches. A new routine might meet with some reaction and resistance initially, until it becomes a new joy-inducing habit.
Another sure-fire way is almost any kind of liberating bodywork. Dancing is one of my favourites. Gabrielle Roth, who created this powerfully transformational way of dancing different waves – flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness – has said:
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?”
Thirdly, access your creativity, which is what I want to talk a little more about here. Used to meditation, dancing, and journaling (and so on), I have always wanted to further explore the visual arts as a force for healing and joy. Which is why I was immediately interested when ConsciousCafe invited people to a SoulScaping event.
Started by a friend of mine, Judy Piatkus, in 2011, by now ConsciousCafe is a global organization.
I am always intrigued to see what Judy is offering. She wasn’t one of the pioneers of self-help in publishing back in the eighties for nothing, and Ahead of her time is an apt title for her own book (Watkins Publishing).
The idea of ConsciousCafe is to let attendees experience conscious connections with people by bringing like-minded individuals together to share thoughts and ideas. Simply put it’s a community that fosters conscious conversations. But who says the conversation can’t be one that you are guided to have with yourself?
The SoulScaping event, using art linked to soul in a playful way, caught my interest.
The SoulScaping process
Louis Parsons developed the SoulScaping process during his own soul-searching phase. Today, he applies it to inspire others to let go and embrace the gift of being a soul-inspired artist – insisting we all have it within us.
To Louis, life is all about soul expression in daily life. This, he says, is the best way of co-creating a world of deeper harmony as well as success.
Dedicated to inspiring people to use the power of art for this purpose, he has guided over 3,000 people, from company executives to orphans, through the SoulScaping process and concludes that his techniques can be used by everyone.
‘You don’t need an artistic bone in your body to do it (I promise). You just need the ability to worry. I know that sounds strange, but worry is creativity. If you are good at worrying, you will love this.”
Invited to create my own piece of art in an online group setting, I sat ready with papers and colourful pens, as well as some glitter and heart stickers. I immersed myself into a well-guided six-phase process of self-discovery, one which ended with the completion of a painting. Or perhaps – like life itself – was it merely a piece of work in progress?
Louis told me that I am not only my SoulScape’s inspiration and origin, but that I am also an active partner in its creation. I liked his focus on what it is that we want to feel as opposed aesthetics. It seemed clear that feeling can be perceived as the opposite to judging.
A painter and a life coach, Parsons aims to help people articulate to themselves the significance of their own life story.
Here are three questions that he asked:
What inspires you?
What drives you?
What is truly important to you?
Louis listens and guides self-exploration by sensing what is most unique and compelling about a life story, whilst zooming in on what a person’s deepest hopes are. The idea is to capture this in a piece of art, who one is, deep down inside.
Try this: Have a pen & paper ready. Look at this image in silence for 60 seconds.
What do you experience?
The art of introspection
It was a joyful experience to participate in this process, and whilst I listened to the feedback of the other participants at the end of it, it became clear to me that people are ready and eager to open their hearts to JOY, perhaps more so than ever before.
Louis Parsons’ process allowed and enticed us to connect with feelings of playfulness, without restrictions. To me joyful feelings are easily induced every time that I picture myself on a moped in Auroville, my soul home and spiritual community in the south of India.
What image awakens joy in you?
This process is particularly helpful at a pivotal point of one’s life, a time when one feels pulled to examine the meaning of one’s life afresh. I think we are at such a time, as a species, right now.
Art, too, is at an interesting juncture today. No longer focused on irony or cleverness or being decorative, the new art sets out to profoundly inspire, says Louis Parsons, and I can only agree.
What is awakening?
Many (most?) people have the notion that awakening is linked to a profound spiritual event. This, of course, is a possibility. And yet, ‘closer to home’ we are in a sense awakening in every moment that we are conscious of.
Awakening is a shift in perspective.
Allowing ourselves to see through our illusions we awaken.
Awakening and joy are connected in that joy, or childlike play, is a sign of that which is awakened within us.
We tend to be so busy putting labels on others and on ourselves that we remain blind to the essence of who we are. As children we don’t do that; we play. As we get older and our egos evolve, we start judging. Can it, then, be unlearned?
In the awakened state judgment does not exist, it has no place there. And in this space of being there is also nothing for ‘the other’ to react against. As a result, we are more easily moving in joy, whilst also capable of feeling joy no matter what is happening around us.
Tending to judgment keeps us stuck. Being judgmental we close the door to gaining new perspectives and we close the door to joy.
Self-care can play a big part on the path towards awakening. This makes sense, because if we are constantly finding ourselves too busy to take time for childlike play and joy, how can we awaken to this way of being?
There are many different tips for engaging in self-care. Keeping it short, simple and sweet I summarize:
Take time for creativity
Nourish the playful child in you
Try not to judge yourself or others
Every morning that you wake up take a moment to feel in your inner landscape – the landscape of your soul – your thoughts and feelings, perhaps some buds of joy waiting to blossom.
With playfulness & love,
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More about the Author:
It was at the height of Claudia’s high-fly corporate career that she arrived at a turning point. A meeting in the forest of a spiritual community in the south of India presented her with a vague notion that she was about to depart from the highway of business success. Little did she know that her life was to radically change.
Claudia now dedicates her time, wisdom and knowledge to support people who want to live a heart-centred life. In her work, she draws on a lifelong interest in how our energy field is influenced by our thoughts, beliefs and emotions and how this in turn influences our lives.
Claudia runs a global community which holds space for conversations exploring a future based on a new and deeper understanding of self. Working with individuals as a Quantum Energy Coach, she also facilitates retreats and offers personal change programmes. Her guided journal Your 28 Days to Self Love is available on Amazon and other major book retail platforms.